Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote has said that last season was very difficult for his team and that he is expecting an improvement this campaign.

Newcastle were tipped as contenders for a European spot at the start of last season but they slumped to a 16th placed finish, putting in a series of lacklustre performances.

Many feel that the Magpie's squad has far more quality in it than the 16th placed finish represents and Tiote is convinced of a vast improvement this year.

The Ivorian told the club’s official website: “Last season was not the best for Newcastle.

“It was a hard season in the Europa League and the Premier League but we've had some time off to rest now.

"It was really difficult for all the team but when you see the season, the most important thing was just to stay in the Premier League.

"That's what we did and now we need to prepare and be ready for the next season.

"When we look at last season, we cannot imagine having the same season as this next year so I think it will be better."

If they are to finish above where they did last season the Toon will need the form of key players, including Tiote, to improve. The combative and powerful central midfielder had impressed during his debut season after signing from FC Twente, but didn’t reach the same standards during the last campaign.

And with the news of Joe Kinnear’s appointment as director of football causing much unrest with the fans, Newcastle will be keen to make a good start this time around to appease supporter’s concerns.

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Premier League
Newcastle United
Cheik Tiote